We investigated whether left-hemisphere arachnoid cysts lead to reorganization of the language function using PET. A group analysis demonstrated that patients showed no more right-hemisphere activation than a matched control group. Several patients had clear language localizations in the left hemisphere during language comprehension; none of the patients showed right-hemisphere activation. We conclude that left-hemisphere tissue must suffer considerable compromise before reorganization of language into the right hemisphere becomes necessary. Language activations within the left hemisphere are clearly displaced. This is consistent with mere physical displacement in some patients rather than reorganization within the left hemisphere; in others intrahemispheric reorganization cannot be excluded. (C) 2000 Academic Press.